Dodgers Now

Steve Dilbeck and The Times' Dodgers reporters
give you all the news on the boys in blue

Category: Web musings

Dodgers have to be liking the dreamer in Matt Kemp

Why you need to dream big ... sounds like the title of 32 different motivational books.

Matt Kemp, however, is dreaming really big. Record big. You’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me big.

His 2011 cry of “40-40” was impressive stuff, and he nearly became the fifth player in major-league history to pull it off, finishing the season with 39 home runs and 40 steals.

Now he’s upped the ante.

“Fifty-fifty,” Kemp said.

That’s his 2012 goal. And hey, why not? Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown examines and applauds Kemp for giving himself lofty goals. Fifty-fifty never has been accomplished in a single season by any player in baseball history.

Of course, hitting 50 homers can get a little in the way of stealing 50 bases. Hard to steal when you’re trotting around the diamond.

Also on the Web:

-- Jonathan Broxton told the Associated Press he’s happy to be in the Kansas City camp and isn’t worried about his post-surgery velocity: “I could come out this year and throw 100 or come back and throw 95. You never know what your velocity is going to be.”

-- The Times’ Bill Shaikin reports on the Bryan Stow family charge that the Dodgers are using bankruptcy court to shield them from their liability claim.

-- In a Fox video, manager Don Mattingly looks to the team’s coming season.

   

 -- Veteran baseball writer Tony Jackson is ESPN/L.A.’s new Dodgers bloggers, and here reports on Rubby De La Rosa’s progress.

-- True Blue L.A.’s Eric Stephen is scheduled to be with the Dodgers all spring, and reports on Jerry Sands arriving at camp and wanting to start.

-- The Dodgers have claimed speedy outfielder Matt Angle off waivers from the Orioles, and in a corresponding move, placed De La Rosa on the 60-day disabled list to create roster room.

-- Mike Petriello gets in touch with his optimistic side in this look at the Dodgers’ coming season.

-- Reid Forgrave at Fox looks back on the historic effect of Dr. Frank Jobe’s ground-breaking Tommy John surgery.

-- Remember, he can play first! Jay Gibbons has signed a minor-league deal with the Brewers.

-- In a video from MLB, excited closer Javy Guerra says he thinks the Dodgers can win it all.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Dodgers Web musings: Manny Ramirez goes 'Moneyball'

Or maybe that should be the other way around. Our favorite dreadlocked, greatest-quote, not-talking, power-hitting, feeble-swinging bundle of contradictions has taken his waning talents to the Oakland A’s.

You probably missed that chapter in the book, but for an A’s team woefully shy on talent, it is a small gamble. At least financially. Pedro Gomez at ESPN reported that Ramirez signed for $500,000. Of course, the Dodgers still owe him $8.3 million in each of the next two years.

The Manny who absolutely electrified Dodger Stadium in 2008 is now 39 and coming off a year in which he sat out almost the entire season after being busted a second time for using performance-enhancing drugs.

He’ll have to serve a 50-game suspension first, but he wants to play, so best of luck and all. Manny is now Oakland’s problem, though it might make for an interesting sequel.

Also on the Web:

— Pitchers and catchers report to camp Tuesday and Dodgers.com’s Ken Gurnick writes that it will the first time in a decade they so with an ace. You can possibly figure out who that is.

— The Times’ Patt Morrison has an interesting Q&A piece with Sue Falsone, the first head female trainer in any American professional sport.

— Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti gives a video interview to Fox at a Kings game where he confirms that he wants to sign Andre Ethier to a long-term contract.

   

— ESPN’s Buster Olney says Yankees catcher Russell Martin has dropped weight for this season. Where have we heard about Martin adjusting his weight before? Oh yeah, here.

— Believe it or not, he’s still here: Brett Tomko has signed a minor-league deal with the Reds.

— And while on ex-Dodgers, infielder Blake DeWitt — the Dodgers’ future second baseman only two years ago — has accepted a minor league assignment with the Cubs after clearing waivers. He’s 26.

— Hong-Chin Kuo is ready to start his new life as a Seattle Mariner: “We all face challenges in life. I had one last year and my teammates helped me through it — everyone helped me through it. My coaches, my wife, everyone.”

— The Jeremy Lin phenomenon reminds some of Nomomania. Wait, check that, it’s Fernandomania.

— Don Mattingly tells Dodgers.com's Gurnick that despite not having an established closer like Jonathan Broxton, he is more confident in his bullpen this season.

— Robert Timm at Dodger Dugout offers his two cents on the team’s coming spring.

— Steve Dilbeck

Dodgers Web musings: Worst offensive infield in baseball?

Dee Gordon
Let's face it, there's not much clout there. The Dodgers infield is what you might call shy on power.

In his preseason analysis of the Dodgers, ESPN's Jim Bowden wrote: "The Dodgers have one of the worst offensive infields in the NL." Which I'm pretty sure would qualify it for one of the worst in all of baseball.

On the corners there is limited power from James Loney (12 homers, .416 slugging last season) and Juan Uribe (4 homers, a woeful .298 slugging, plus a .204 batting average). Mark Ellis is a solid glove at second whom Bowden correctly notes "has no speed or power and is in his declining years." And then there is speedy, though powerless, shortstop Dee Gordon.

And that would be half of your lineup.

Also on the Web:

-- At SB Nation, Eric Stephen is having difficulty building enthusiasm for the Dodgers' coming season.

-- Manager Don Mattingly tells Dodgers.com's Ken Gurnick that he's more concerned about distractions over the ownership situation this spring than he was a year ago.

-- NBC Sports' Matthew Pouliot writes that the theme to the Dodgers' winter was quantity over quality.

-- The Times' Bill Shaikin writes that the 11 remaining ownership groups bidding on the Dodgers have been asked to submit revised bids before a second round of cuts is made by investment bank Blackstone Advisory Partners (read: Frank McCourt).

-- Wednesday's post here about the Dodgers trying to sign Andre Ethier to a long-term deal while his price is low brought some Web reaction. Chad Moryiama likes the logic but thinks Ethier is simply the wrong guy to utilize it on. Mike Petriello at Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness thinks that if Ethier waits until the end of the season, he might double his contract.

-- Long-time Dodgers photographer Jon SooHoo is running a series of historical team photos at his MLB blog, including one with background on Kevin Waters, the team's handyman for over 20 years.

-- The New York Post's Kevin Kernan profiles Mattingly’s son, Preston -– a former first-round pick of the Dodgers -- after he signed with the Yankees as a minor-league free agent.

-- Let the investigation begin. The Dodgers blogger softball tournament last weekend, organized by the Left Field Pavilion for charity, was won by ... the Left Field Pavilion Forum 2.

-- CBS Sports' Scott Miller has a nice overview about what it’s like covering spring training every day for six weeks.

ALSO:

Second cut looming for Dodgers bidders

It's time for Dodgers to lock up Andre Ethier

James Loney says blow to head led to his odd behavior after crash

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Dee Gordon walks back to the bench after striking out against the Arizona Diamondbacks back in August. Credit: Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press

Dodgers web musings: There is never getting enough of Vin Scully

Amazing, isn’t it? Vin Scully has been around for 61 wonderful years in Los Angeles, must have called more than 9,000 games.

Anyone else going back to the days of Mickey Cohen would have worn out their welcome several decades ago. Yet there never seems to be getting too much of the most beloved man in Los Angeles history.

So here comes another profile on Scully, this one from Drew Schmenner of the Desert Sun in Palm Springs, in advance of his speaking at the Sacred Heart Church and School on Feb. 11.

There may not be anything particularly revelatory in this latest piece, but Schmenner does a solid job, and even if we’ve heard the stories before, they still seem fresh coming from Scully.

Here he describes the origin of sitting back in key moments and letting the crowd’s reaction tell the story:

“It all goes back to when I was a little boy, and we had a big, four-legged radio, and I loved to crawl underneath it and listen to a college football game. When I heard the roar of the crowd — I've made it a cliché by now — but the speaker suddenly became like a showerhead with water coming all over your body, only this time, it was just sound, and it just thrilled me beyond belief, and so, to this very day, if something well-done elicits a roar from the crowd, why I enjoy every second of the pure sound of it.”

Also on the web:

-- Yes, it’s true. I guess it’s understandable, but still unsettling. The Times’ Carol Williams on Dodgers asking the bankruptcy judge to reject claims by the family of Bryan Stow for his severe beating on opening day.

-- Hall of Fame baseball writer Ross Newhan says the Dodgers’ sale is growing more shadowy every day. And he reasons correctly if Fred Claire’s group can get back in the auction if they raise enough capital to reach Frank McCourt’s $1.5-billion figure, isn’t that true of Dennis Gilbert and anyone else eliminated in the first round?

-- More hugs for McCourt. The New York Daily News’ Bill Madden writes the looming record price for the Dodgers portends well for all baseball owners, but particularly embattled Mets owner Fred Wilpon.

-- The Times’ Mike DiGiovanna looks at the best and worst free-agent signings this winter by position. He calls the Dodgers’ signing of Mark Ellis the worst value signing at second base.

-- Another ranking, this one slightly better for the Dodgers. The Chicago Tribune’s Phil Rogers ranks the Dodgers baseball’s 14th best team, one spot behind the Giants.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Dodgers Web musings: 2012 team is not wowing followers

Kershaw-kemp_600

It seems Ned Colletti’s off-season maneuverings aren’t exactly converting the skeptics. Guess a $90-million payroll just doesn’t buy what it once did.

So the team that returns the National League Cy Young Award winner and MVP runner-up is not exactly getting a lot of off-season media love. Of course, they did have Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp last season and all it netted them was an 82-79 record.

Know those power rankings that are still the rage in professional sports? In the early results, the Dodgers are not faring well. Not even as good as last year’s squad.

Sports Illustrated’s Joe Lemire ranks the Dodgers’ baseball’s 18th-best team. That’s actually down four spots from where he had them finish last year. Arizona is listed at No. 11 and San Francisco at No. 15.

Earlier, Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown ranked the Dodgers 19th.

I don’t put much stake in these rankings, particularly at this time of the year, but it does indicate how the Dodgers are being perceived nationally.

Also on the Web:

--Bloomberg Businessweek’s Roben Farzad has a lengthy overview of the Dodgers’ sale.

“It’s a sports-business circus here,” said David Carter, executive director of the Sports Business Institute at USC.

Farzad claims the three current favorites in the bidding are the Rick Caruso-Joe Torre group, the Magic Johnson-Stan Kasten group and Steven Cohen.

--Hall of Fame baseball writer Ross Newhan doesn’t think South Korean conglomerate E-Land's financial backing of Peter O’Malley should negatively affect his bid.

Wrote Newhan: “No one has the ability to put the organization back together faster than the former owner.”

--Diamondbacks CEO Derrick Hall said he was staying with the team despite overtures from potential owners wanting him to run the Dodgers should their bids succeed. But, really, what else is he going to say?

--Dodgers.com’s Ken Gurnick said the Dodgers were thrilled with the results of their "young guns" mini-camp in Arizona. Also joining the prospects were Chris Capuano, Javy Guerra, Kenley Jansen and Scott Elbert.

--The Dodgers and White Sox have scheduled a spring game March 23 in Tucson to benefit the Christina-Taylor Green Foundation.

--Jamey Carroll tells MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger he’s ready to be the Twins’ everyday shortstop.

--The Red Sox are hoping right-hander Vicente Padilla arrives to camp on time after a report in Nicaragua he may not be able to leave that country over a failure to pay child support.

--The Dodgers have released a copy of the Dodger Stadium 50th anniversary logo, sponsored by State Farm. The Times’ Dylan Hernandez wonders if it includes a discount on fire insurance.

RELATED:

Dodgers' Frank McCourt: MLB owners' new inspiration

If Stan Kroenke gets the Dodgers, doesn't L.A. get the Rams?

Potential Dodgers owners already reaching out to Derrick Hall

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Ace pitcher Clayton Kershaw and slugging center fielder Matt Kemp celebrate after Kershaw's shutout against the Detroit Tigers last summer at Dodger Stadium. Credit: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images / June 20, 2011

Dodgers web musings: It's the daily question

Frank3
The off-season for the Dodgers used to be spent wondering if the new pieces would fit, if they’d be any good, if they had a shot at the World Series.

That would normally be the first question asked by acquaintances, or those I was just meeting who discovered what I did for a living:

How are the Dodgers going to be this year?

Only, not this off-season. This winter it is seldom asked. Now the first question is always:

Who’s going to be the new Dodgers owner?

Like I had some remarkable insight into the curious cranium of Frank McCourt. I usually just reply, "The guy who bids the most." Not trying to be flip, it’s just that those of us follow the Dodgers professionally have no double-secret knowledge of what is really happening behind the scenes that we’re failing to share with the public.

Which doesn’t mean we don’t like to speculate as much as the next guy. Will it be all money for McCourt? If bids are close, does a guy with L.A. roots win out, the guy with a baseball background, the guy who took McCourt to lunch?

Jon Heyman, the veteran baseball writer now at CBS Sports, likes the chances of the Magic Johnson/Stan Kasten combo, particularly if local billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong joins their group.

Heyman  said he heard the bidding is already up to $1.5-billion range, which is certainly believable since Larry King, who was in the Dennis Gilbert group that didn’t make the first cut, told ESPN’s Jim Bowden they bid $1.25 billion.

The Times’ Bill Shaikin reported that at least eight groups advanced into the next round. They’re all stupid rich, and still waiting in the wings are billionaires Soon-Shiong and Ron Burkle, who are still expected to join someone’s group. Or some groups may yet merge, or bring in a group that didn’t make the first cut.

Really, I would tell you exactly what’s going to happen, if I or anyone else, actually knew.

Continue reading »

Dodgers Web musings: Can Clayton Kershaw do it again?

Short answer: Not likely.

At least not at the same glorious heights he pitched during his 2011 Cy Young season. ESPN/LA’s Jon Weisman examined the top pitching seasons by pitchers 21-25 years old since 1958, using ERA+ (earned-run average adjusted for the type of ballpark pitched in).

Of the top 50 performances, only four showed a slight improvement the next season. The rest dropped off fairly significantly.

Also on the web:

-- Here is a video of Kershaw’s acceptance speech for the Cy Young award last week.

  

-- Former Dodgers managing partner Bob Daly had a lot to say to The Times’ T.J. Simers on Frank McCourt: "The man got a gift from God and unfortunately blew it, and blew it on his own personal craziness."

And this wise word for McCourt’s successor: "Here's the test to see if we get a smart or stupid owner. If you make a deal and allow McCourt to keep the land and parking lots, you are out of your mind.”

-- The Times’ Bill Plaschke thinks the Dodgers’ main priority now should be signing Kershaw to a long-term deal.

-- USA Today’s Bob Nightengale examines the pros and cons of each group reportedly bidding on the Dodgers, as does blogger Chad Moriyama.

-- Thanks to blogger Roberto Baly of Vin Scully Is My Homeboy for pointing out this roundtable segment on the Steve Mason and John Ireland show on ESPN 710-AM called "Meet the Bidders."

-- Hall of Fame baseball writer Ross Newhan said of all the groups interested in the Dodgers, only three or four may actually have the equity to purchase the team.

-- Andre Ethier "punked" his good friend, Red Sox Dustin Pedroia, on a WEEI sports show, actually getting him riled when he pretended to be an irate Boston fan unimpressed with Pedroia’s talents.

-- Ethier is also scheduled to appear with Mark Willard on Saturday at 710-AM, but a release of the interview includes this comment: "I've kind of dealt with this knee thing for the past two years, put it off for one off-season and then last season it just became a thing where a lot of things started multiplying and getting worse and something where I couldn't quite get back my swing."

-- Forbes’ Mike Ozanian writes Stan Kroenke’s bid for the Dodgers implies he’s bringing the Rams with him.

-- ESPN’s Buster Olney looks at the legacy of McCourt (Insider status required), and it ain’t pretty: “Frank McCourt will be remembered as the Richard Nixon of baseball owners, as someone who inexplicably squandered enormous opportunity and went out the door in shame.”

-- Safe to say, Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown is unimpressed with the Dodgers’ off-season, ranking them 19th best team in MLB.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Dodgers Web musings: Is the 1% all in on the Dodgers?

Stanley-gold_600

You better have a pretty deep scorecard if you’re planning on keeping up with all the guys with supposedly deep pockets who want to buy the bankrupt Dodgers.

Pretty soon it will become easier to list which of the uber rich doesn’t want to buy the Dodgers. And the deadline for applications is still more than two weeks away. Getting the sinking feeling Frank McCourt may yet have the last laugh?

The Times’ Bill Shaikin has reported on two more of the well-heeled who want to move into the Dodgers owner suite, Tony Ressler and Stanley Gold, a pair of names that are unlikely to be familiar to you, unless your circle includes guys with Aston Martins and Bugattis.

Ressler is the co-founder of a Los Angeles investment group that controls more than $40 billion in assets and Gold heads Shamrock Holdings, the investment company founded by Roy Disney.

They already have one ownership quality down –- both refused comment for Shaikin’s story.

Also on the Web:

-- Hall of Famer baseball writer Ross Newhan wonders where are those Chinese billionaires who were supposedly interested in purchasing the Dodgers. Remember last September when Bill Burkle and his Chinese government friends supposedly offered a record $1.2 billion for the club?

-- Daily News columnist Tom Hoffarth takes a stab at handicapping the ownership field, listing the Rick Caruso-Joe Torre entry as his early favorite.

Hoffarth also writes the pressure is on Commissioner Bud Selig to weed out potential poor owners before approving the group from which McCourt gets to select.

-- Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown writes that the addition of Torre brings enormous credibility to Caruso’s effort.

And unrelated to the ownership situation, but also from Brown and truly worth a read, is his tribute to his brother and early observations on unexpected loss.

-- In a video, Fox baseball analyst Ken Rosenthal said the number and quality of ownership candidates speaks well for baseball and the future of the Dodgers.

   

-- Steve Garvey tells ESPN/LA that he hopes his getting fired by McCourt last summer while lobbying to be the new owner and working in the team’s community relations department won’t be a factor in his and Orel Hershiser’s bid. Said Garvey: “I think the most money possible is going to be the key."

-- The Dodgers’ annual winter development program for top minor leaguers starts Monday at Dodger Stadium.

RELATED:

What does Time Warner Cable want from the Dodgers?

Really, it's OK: Dodgers re-sign reliever Mike MacDougal

Joe Torre adds to the best show the Dodgers have going

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Stanley Gold has been the driving force behind Shamrock Holdings since it was founded in 1978. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

Dodgers web musings: Who needs another out-of-town owner?

Omalley-mccourt_600

Not the Dodgers, at least that’s how a great many feel.

No less than Hall of Fame baseball writer Ross Newhan, who’s now retired from The Times but writing his own blog, thinks this is a road the Dodgers have been down enough.

Since Peter O’Malley sold the Dodgers, they have been owned by Australian Rupert Murdoch and Boston’s Frank and Jamie McCourt. The results were turmoil and bankruptcy.

Although I don’t think having an out-of-town owner should be an absolute deal breaker, it certainly is preferable to have an owner who is from Los Angeles, and also with a baseball background.

That immediately points to Dennis Gilbert, Fred Claire and O’Malley.

Asks Newhan: Why go to Connecticut or anywhere else when there are potential and quality owners in the neighborhood?

McCourt has said a community tie will be important when he selects a next owner, but more important than the highest bid?

Also on the web:

-- To those who don’t understand how the judge ruling McCourt can’t sell his media rights along with the team can impact the price (my hand's up), Forbes’ Mike Ozanian writes it could cost him $300 million because it would eliminate bidders with less upfront cash.

-- Dodgers.com’s Ken Gurnick has 10 questions for the team as it enters 2012.

-- Hedge fund king, a would-be Dodgers owner, Steven Cohen and McCourt have at least one thing in common. Cohen knows all about contentious divorces.

-- Times columnist Bill Plaschke gives his 2011 MVP to the fans who boycotted McCourt and drove him to sell.

-- Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness thinks the Dodgers’ lack of investment in foreign players under McCourt has begun to show.

-- An analysis by the Associated Press on the final MLB payrolls for 2011 shows the Dodgers coming in 12th among its 30 teams.

-- Those looking for optimism for 2012, Sports Illustrated’s Cliff Corcoran thinks the Dodgers can win the National League West.

-- ESPN’s Buster Olney’s rankings of the Top Ten outfields in baseball (Insider status required) has the Dodgers’ trio at No.7.

-- Where are they now (still): Jon Heyman of CBS Sports said Andruw Jones has re-signed with the Yankees for one year at $2 million.

ALSO:

A look at your 2012 Dodgers lineup

Hedging your bets on the next Dodgers owner

Judge: Dodgers can pay creditors without selling TV rights

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Former Dodgers owner Peter O'Malley, left, greets new Dodgers owner Frank McCourt during an event honoring O'Malley's father Walter in 2008. Credit: Jon SooHoo / Los Angeles Dodgers

Dodgers Web musings: Looking back on the 2011 season

Dodgers1_600

The new year beckons, which of course requires looking back at the year ending.

Lists are everywhere these days, sort of like Republican presidential candidates. Alas, for the Dodgers, what tops these lists are not what happened on the field but in the courtroom, or at least the negotiating room.

Frank-mccourt_225Dodgers.com’s Ken Gurnick has his list of top five story lines for 2011, and bigger than Clayton Kershaw capturing the Cy Young is naturally owner Frank McCourt taking the team into bankruptcy.

ESPN/L.A.’s Tony Jackson has his own list of Dodgers’ defining moments of last season, and again, understandably, more significant than Kershaw is McCourt. This time it’s his agreeing to sell the team. Hard to top that.

Also on the Web:

-- Scott Andes of Lasorda’s Lair has completed his list of the Top Ten L.A. Dodger Bums of all-time, and coming in No. 1 is Juan Castro.

-- The Times has also concluded its countdown of L.A.’s 20 greatest sports moments, and coming in first was Kirk Gibson’s 1988 World Series home run.

The Dodgers appeared five times in the overall list, second to the Lakers’ eight times.

-- ESPN/N.Y. is reporting the Yankees are not really in on signing ex-Dodger Hiroki Kuroda, which kind of leaves the Boston Red Sox as his primary suitor.

-- Joe Block, who was not being brought back by new radio flagship station KLAC on Dodger Talk, has landed on his feet. He is the new play-by-play announcer for the Brewers, where he’ll work with none other than Bob Uecker.

-- The New York Times examines the financial problems of the Mets, who aren’t looking any better than the bankrupt Dodgers.

-- ESPN’s Buster Olney lists his top 10 rotations in baseball (Insider status required), and guess who sneaks in at 10b?

RELATED:

Dodgers are forbidden to sell TV rights for now

Frank McCourt's spinning Dodgers wheels got to go 'round

Goodbye Eugenio Velez, the Dodgers won't be the same without you

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photos: Say what you will about Dodgers owner Frank McCourt (lower), his franchise currently has the reigning Cy Young Award winner in Clayton Kershaw and a legitimate MVP candidate in center fielder Matt Kemp (top, right and left). Credit: Associated Press and Los Angeles Times

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